Monday, June 30, 2008


My stomach was full, the weather tepid and humid. Sweat dripped into my eyes as I ran through the trees. I saw a spark. I blinked, brushing the sweat from my eyes. I glanced around to see if anyone was smoking near by. Another small streak of light whizzed by in my peripheral vision. I rubbed my eyes. Maybe I needed them checked.

Rounding the corner by the golf course I sped up. The two small bridges beneath my feet made a clopping sound as I trod across and down the path. Making my way around the course and back toward the park I saw a another spark. Fear flitted through my thoughts. Flames and images of the wildfires roared to the forefront of my mind as I saw more sparks light up and disappear.

There were definitely sparks in the forest at night. I had seen lightning bugs/fireflies for the first time.

-run for life


I never realized that it rained during the summer nearly everywhere except where I lived. I just went through life assuming that California weather was the norm. I guess I have done that with a lot of things. I assumed that if someone proclaimed that they were a Christian-that they were. I take people at their word, only to get burned, trampled on, and disappointed. I am so glad that God will never cease to love us, to be faithful, and keep His promises.

-run for life

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the heart of the matter

Not that I ever care to confess to having an affinity toward a particular someone of the male gender... I was reading Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? chapters 5 & 6 for Resolved Girl's Discipleship Group this coming Saturday.  I realized that I indeed have some of the characteristics of one who "dates within their mind;" more than I would like to admit.  I generally don't talk about guys.  I consider them friends.  Brothers if you will.  I love hanging out with my bros... and competing with them.

I thought I was better at guarding my heart.  I thought that I made it clear I was not interested in a relationship other than friendship.  My pride will be my downfall.  I have been illuminated once again to the fact that I need to protect my brothers and myself even more.  I think it's people freaking out because they're getting older.  I don't know why.  I'm 25 and I'm dandy.  Yes, I want to get married.  Yup, I want to have kids.

However, I have utmost faith that God will provide me with a suitor and eventually a husband in His perfect timing.  I know that He did not create me to be alone, thus He will give a husband one day.  Is it possible to have too much faith?  I don't think so.  I'm living up the single life while I can.  I should reach out to people, travel, and live life.  God has called me to be single right now and I am content.

I dress comfortably and continue my low maintenance lifestyle.  I thought for a split second that perhaps I should try a little harder to look nice, worry about my clothes, or maybe wear something other than flip flops... then I quickly snapped back to reality, ha ha.  I maintain the Northern California attitude-the "feel and look comfortable" look.  I figure I am still trying to find a balance or happy medium, but then I am pretty content with the way I dress and how I look... is that finding balance?

When I need to, I dress up-just enough.  Even at church out here in Virginia where the dress code is the most stringent I've ever experienced... I wear my free workout pants, they are my favorite pants after all.  Other people just wish they could be as efficient as me!  Dressing up for me consists of wearing my hair down and putting in dangly earrings.  I usually take about 4-5 minutes to get ready on a regular day including brushing my teeth and washing my face.  On days when I am trying to look nicer, I might take as long as 15 whole minutes!

I am so thankful that God has made me the way I am so that I can be a minimalist and still 'clean up nicely.'  I pray that God will send someone my way (I'm talking about a husband) who appreciates me for the way I am.  Someone that likes that I don't put on tons of make up or take lots of time to get ready.  Someone that values my ability to be efficient!

- run for life

Saturday, June 21, 2008

reflections on RT 2008

Good times to be had traveling. I am seriously considering saving all my money for my Europe, Australia, South Africa, and South America funds... and that is what I will probably do unless I can get a traveling job which would be optimal. I am praying hard regarding the job topic.

It was awesome meeting new people, talking to random people at games, and seeing new sights. I prayed every time I got in the car and tons throughout the day. I was going to go to the Pittsburgh Sovereign Grace church the first Sunday, but I didn't know how to get there and I woke up pretty late/realized I had nothing nice enough to wear out there anyway. God was definitely watching over me and I pray that I represented Him well during my 2 week journey.

Everything worked out perfectly. Despite floods a few days before tormenting Wisconsin before I was to arrive, the waters receded just as I made my way across and up to Minnesota. I didn't get lost despite driving back roads to Milton and into residential areas in huge metropolitan cities. No one disturbed me while I was sleeping in Lazarus. Lazarus worked... even though he had been finicky two days prior to my departure from VA. God is good, so good to me. Countless more blessings happened while on the road that I couldn't write them and I am probably not even aware of all of them.

It really is amazing how many wonderful, generous people there are. All of the news only shows what people will pay to see, the bad things going on in the world, but there are good deeds done every second of the day throughout the world!

I calculated my total cost (including Lazarus having a full tank of gas in the driveway right now which is about $40 worth of gas, so technically it'd be the total minus $40) to be $672.34-more than I was hoping to spend (I was shooting for under $500, the games were more expensive than I thought!  $22 for standing room in Milwaukee!  $21 dollar "cheap" seats at the White Sox and mad crazy expensive Stubhub tickets for the Cubs add up!) but in the long run, worth it. Gas is only going up and I won't have time to drive around the nation when ever once I start working-especially with all of these weddings coming up!

Praise God for allowing me to have this experience and being right there with me.  His creation is so astounding.  I am forever in His debt-especially for Him helping to keep me safe while falling asleep at the wheel and knowing when I needed a break/nap.

-run for life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Minnesota to Ohio

Tuesday, June 17: When Ryan said it didn't get light downstairs he wasn't joking. I woke up at 11:30 and it was still pitch black in the room. I walked upstairs and I met Dan, Ryan's older brother and their mom. She was making waffles for all of us which was glorious. I love waffles. I put my stuff in the car and ate waffles. Ryan and I went to the free Como Zoo which was fun. We watched the California Sea Lion show and headed back to his house to eat lunch-pizza. I got directions to the Mall of America and after charging my phone and watching a little tv/hanging out with Ryan I set off to catch the light rail train to the stadium. The train is underneath Bloomingdale's parking lot at the mall, so I parked on top and walked down the stairs just as the train pulled in. I got on and was off toward the stadium. It was pretty decent, 3.50 round trip to and from the stadium with free parking at the mall.

I arrived at ball park 22. The outside, as everyone had told me, was much more impressive than the inside. The inside was really crappy. I was kind of shocked, though I had been warned. Fortunately they are building a new park set to open just for baseball (no Vikings games) in 2010. I think I may have to go back to run the Twin Cities marathon and watch a game at the new park in 2010. It was a decent game, the Twins won over the Nationals and I saw a homerun as is customary for me at each ballpark.

After the game was over, I hopped back on the train, got back to Laz and started driving 52S-90E back through Wisconsin. I made it to Janesville a little south of Madison before I was beat. I fell asleep around 3:30AM in the back of Laz.

Wednesday, June 18: I got up at 9:30EST-so 8:30CST. I ate some random hot fries from a vending machine for 50 cents and drank some Gatorade as I rolled out. I was worried I didn't have enough gas to make it into Indiana so I bought really expensive gas for 4.229 a gallon outside of Chicago and kept on rolling. I made it to Lowell, IN and filled up for 3.979 (I had only put 2 gallons in at the 4.229 price). Then continued on my way to 65S toward Indianapolis. I ended up sitting on the highway for at least 45 minutes. I was able to load all my pictures off my camera and make some Minnesota Twins collages while waiting for traffic to move again. I was on the verge of turning around and going back up to 18 to go around the accident right when traffic started to move again. A semi had some how torqued and twisted across the entire north bound road causing the south bound traffic to be stopped by the police.

I continued on through Indianapolis (I went around 465E because 65S was only 1 lane due to construction) and then finally made it to Cincinnati at 6:30PM EST. My host was great and made me spaghetti and I was still hungry so he cooked me some scrambled eggs. Then we walked down to the store to get ingredients to make homemade brownies. We visited his house mate who lived upstairs and had made cookies from cookie dough he gave her. Then I made the brownies (which were delicious!) and he had bought Graeter's ice cream made in Cincinnati, so we had brownies and ice cream. Good times. We stopped by the neighbor's party and chatted a little with his friends. Around midnight we were finally ready to sleep... I had been ready from the long drive but it was fun to hang out.

Thursday, June 19: I woke up at 7:30AM and had to go to the bathroom. I walked through his room to the bathroom and upon my departure he said, 'good morning Jill' which freaked me out. I thought he was sleeping. I fell back asleep on the couch and thought about running... that didn't happen. When I woke up it was 9:30AM and time to eat breakfast and head out to the game. He made me a sunny side up egg sandwich and he had sausages and toast. (We had used all the eggs except one to make the brownies last night.) Then I changed, put sunscreen on and he walked me down to the bus/metro stop. Unfortunately I missed the 10:38 bus because it was early so I had to wait for the 11:18 bus. He went back to his house to meet up with another CS person who was coming to the game as well. I saw a car full of guys wearing Reds hats and I was going to try to hitch a ride with some of them, but no more cars with Reds fans drove past before the bus arrived.

I talked to the bus driver about his diet and he was very nice and told me about the different parts of Cincinnati that we were driving to. I arrived at the ballpark at 11:50AM and unfortunately all of the bleacher tickets were "sold out" at the box office so I just got the second cheapest... twice as much as the bleachers. I didn't have cash to buy from scalpers... so I really had to. I took some pictures outside with statues and then went in to take more pictures with the field behind me. I got my ticket signed by two of the players-#32, Bruce and another that I had never heard of. Sitting down where there were empty seats worked for me, I was in section 129 and had a great view of the players and field but my friends weren't able to get down without getting their tickets checked so I got up and we sat in the outfield, still on the bottom deck with a good view of the field and the "sold out" bleachers.

The game was kind of sad with the Dodgers beating the Reds pretty badly. Afterward we headed out to get Skyline chilli-"famous" Cincinnati chilli I had never heard of. It was pretty meaty, but good with the spicy-ish after taste. Then we went back to the bus, our friend forgot his sunglasses so we waited for him by the fountain and caught the bus back to his house where he got set to leave for a soccer game and I sat on my butt eating ice cream on the couch. It was good times. Before he left I was mentioning that I always hurt myself during soccer games and he said he never did, I was surprised, but figured he was just lucky.

While I was sitting on the couch, his new surfers came and I invited them in and showed them around. He came back and he had sprained his ankle! Probably jinxing himself when he said he never got hurt earlier. Everything was breaking-his milk jar, his body, the house (not really), it was pretty funny. We ended up with a lot of good times in 24 hours. I taught him about how to take care of a sprained ankle and took care of him for awhile. He called his nurse school neighbors, who I didn't think were much help, but whatever. I went out with one of the girls to get a bandage for his foot so he could wrap it.  On the way back into the house I stepped on some rusty metal pipe sticking out of the ground in the grass near the curb in front of one of his neighbors houses.  Blood came gushing out and I washed it off and let more blood bleed out so that all the rustiness would come out... and thanked God for tetnus shots!

It was fun getting to know the new CSers and meet his parents. They were great! They brought 6 pints of ice cream and crutches. Always a good thing when one has a sprained ankle. They left soon after and I got ready to leave and left at midnight. It's nice to make really good friends within a day.

I drove down 75S and when I was getting ready to get on 64E toward Richmond, the traffic literally came to a halt-for a good portion of an hour. I fell asleep in Laz for at least 30 minutes while he idled there on the highway. I was able to get about 50 miles more down 64E before falling asleep somewhere off the highway in a parking lot in Kentucky.

Friday, June 20
: I woke up, bought some gas for 3.999 and continued on my way. Before I crossed into the West Virginia state lines I had to nap again. I woke up to mom's phone call and set off toward WV and VA. It was a long drive. West Virginia is nice-"wild and beautiful" as their motto says but it's not the most fun when you're tired and alone. I hit VA and got a VA state map for the first time and a free bumper sticker that claimed the state's motto "Virginia is for Lovers" which I don't understand, but I'm a lover and not a fighter so I guess it works.

I rolled on down 64 through more traffic and construction. I finally arrived in Midlo, filled Laz to the brim at the BP in Brandermill and arrived at 4-4:30PM. I cleaned up and put away everything from my trip and heated some macaroni from a can before the family came home and we had some spaghetti for dinner. I had only eaten a power bar the whole day so I was pretty hungry. Afterward we had some moose tracks ice cream and I went through all of the pictures I had gotten, picked which ones I wanted on the walls, framed them and put them up. They aren't as straight as I'd like, but I'm way too lazy to try to line them up perfectly. I like the variety and selection up. Most of them are beachy/California themed pictures but there are some streets of Oakland and other random United States places. I have a picture of my family at Anita's graduation and of Herns, Manny, me and Noli at my graduation. All the rest are of places rather than people.  Cost for the road trip was more than expected due to the Cubs ticket, but approximately totaled $672.34 for nearly 3,000 miles, 8 ball parks, infinite good times, new friends, amazing hospitality, and unforgettable memories.  7 more MLB parks to go.  I am sending out thank you postcards/letters tomorrow to everyone that hosted me.

Well, my road trip for this summer is over, but my adventures continue.

-run for life

Monday, June 16, 2008

Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota

Saturday, June 14: I woke up around 10:30AM again and ate some miso soup for lunch after having a power bar for breakfast. Gross. I packed everything up and checked the weather for Wisconsin and tried to look up which highways were closed but I couldn’t find anything so I set out around 2:30PM and didn’t get to Milwaukee until 5:10PM because of all the traffic and two of the lanes were closed. I stopped off to get gas on the way there since it was 4.01 (actually I thought it was 3.91 but the sign had in small letters 10 cents off per gallon if you buy a car wash).

I arrived in Milwaukee while the rain clouds rolled in. Tons of people were in the parking lot tailgating with beer, sausages, hot dogs, and other baseball food. It was great; every aisle I went down had tailgate party after party. I wish I had gotten there earlier so that I could weasel my way into one and have the entire Milwaukee Brewer experience. The stadium has a roof that closes so after I walked around the stadium and took pictures with the statues outside and the large drops plummeted from the sky, I got in line to go inside. It turned out it was kids’ t-shirt day and they were nicer at Miller Park than PNC and they gave me one. It had been Pirates kids’ t-shirt day and they wouldn’t give me one even thought it would have fit me. I probably would have worn the Pirates won too because SL’s mascot is the pirate. I walked around and took pictures down in the 100 level. I should have bought tickets earlier, but I didn’t realize there were enough hardcore people who would drive from Minneapolis to Milwaukee for the Twins vs Brewers game. I bought standing room only tickets and stood behind the seats on the 3rd base side to watch the game.

Large people were standing in the way but I ended up sitting down next to a guy who was with his family, originally from Minneapolis but moved to Chicago and drove up for the game. Another guy sat down next to me even though he had standing room only tickets as well. He was impressed that I was driving around from park to park and bought me a Miller Lite since I was at Miller Park, he didn’t think it was right to be there without having a Miller. I drank about a quarter of it (when I looked at the bottle, it was only a centimeter below the neck of the bottle, ha ha-if you look at the picture, that’s how much was left once I was done with it) and then left the rest under the seat. I figured I had the experience, but I don’t like beer so I was done with that. I saw some more homeruns by both teams. It was awesome and the game went into the 12th inning after Nathan blew the save with the Twins up 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th. The twins loaded the bases in the 10th, 11th, and 12th innings before scoring in the top of the 12th. After scoring two runs, with 2 on base, Cuddyer went up as a pinch hitter and hit a 3 run bomb. The twins shut down the Brewer offense in the bottom of the 12th and they became the first away team to win on this road trip.

I took more pictures after the game and waited for the traffic to die down. Walking outside to Lazarus I was telling Melissa about my travels and bringing her up to date. Ballpark number 6 had been reached and so far Lazarus was holding up quite nicely. I only had one scare in Pittsburgh so far and I prayed that God would help me out.

So far on the job and school front I’m not doing too terribly. I got the full time job offer from Farmville, VA and I got an email declaring my acceptance into Northeastern’s graduate program.

I rolled out on 94W and it detoured to 83S, which I took all the way to 59W. That highway brought me to Milton where Scott’s parents live. I arrived around 12:30AM and Clara showed me around the house and I soon went to sleep.

Sunday, June 15:
I woke up at 11AM and went up stairs after brushing my teeth and washing my face. We set out to the Family Diner or the Milton Family Restaurant and had lunch there. I ate a mushroom burger and fries. For some reason I thought it was a big Portobello mushroom, but it was a burger with mushrooms cut on top and cheese melted over them. I ate it anyway; it was good, but huge. I ate it all.

After we ate I was taken on a little mini tour of Milton and then we went out to the mall to see if they had cheesehats. I met some of the people that work with Scott’s sister at Kohl’s and one guy was wearing this awesome shirt that had a picture of the United States and it showed baseball countries for each team on it. I had to have it. Luckily it was on sale and Scott’s sister Leanne gets another 15% discount on clothing. Unfortunately it was a medium rather than a small, but it was too great to pass up. I got my cheesehat and my Wisconsin mission was complete.

They showed me the old high school and the rock in front and where they used to live. The Milton House is the oldest concrete building in the nation and they used to have slave trade to Canada out there. There was a small pioneer cabin built in 1837 that has been maintained for the most part. We headed back to see if the sign that said 1989 football state championships was still up since Scott was on the winning team and scored the game clinching touchdown.

I took my Wisconsin jumping picture behind the house in the garden and took a nap before dinner after making my Wisconsin collages. I woke up around 7 and ate some dinner before we headed out to Scott’s sister’s place to pick up my shirt. It was father’s day so the grandparents were there. I met the whole family and we had some cake and ice cream. We headed back (I had driven) and all went to bed.

Monday, June 16: I woke up at 9:30AM and had some toast with homemade preserves. Clara was making molasses cookies so I had some of those before I left as well. She had some great cook books that I want to try to get. I said good bye and headed out around 11:00AM. I hit 90W to 94W and then headed toward La Crosse on 90W where it split again. It was pretty smooth sailing with little traffic and no blocks.

Once I got into Minnesota it started taking longer to get any where. I guess the flooding had gone down in Wisconsin, I thought that was the part that would take a long time. I hit 52N and then 50W. I met Ryan at Target once I got into Burnsville because I didn't know where he lived. We went to the Mall of America after I ate some chips and salsa and walked around. I figured we should take a picture with some of the Legos to prove that I was there. Gabe would be all about the Legos, but I think there must have been something cooler because I imagined Lego Land a lot cooler. Then we headed to Burnsville High School where Ryan's practice for his play was.

I sat through about an hour of it and then walked toward Burger King to get a milk shake. Unfortunately... or lamely they were closed at 7PM, it was 8PM, and they wouldn't let me get anything through the drive thru since I was walking. I started off annoyed toward the Super America or "SA" gas station and saw Dairy Queen across the street. Amazing. I walked kitty corner from BK to DQ and it was so much better. I got fries and a Health Blizzard. Yum. A little league team had won and was there to celebrate. After I was done I walked back to the high school and walked around the football field where the team was having practice. I had to wait a little longer and went to the bathroom since I had time to kill.

When practice was over we headed back to the house and watched an episode of the office and some movies on tv before heading off to bed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Friday, June 13:  Lack of sleep finally took it's toll.  Waking up at 9:30AM this morning, Brian and Chandler were already ready to leave by the time the drilling started out the window.  I got up, checked the weather, ate miso soup and popcorn for lunch and packed my bag.  I dawdled and tried to look up the news in regards to the flooding of Iowa and the dam breaking in Wisconsin.  I started my laundry, dried it, folded it, and stuck it into a compressor sack so that I could squish it and stick it in the car.  Everything was reorganized in Lazarus and then I set out for the stadium.

I took the blue line toward Forest Hill and then transfered at Jackson to the red line south.  Then I walked out to the stadium, bought my over priced tickets and waited for the gate to open.  Some people in line were from Alabama and I was talking to them about baseball.  They were visiting a bunch of stadiums as well, but staying in a motor home instead of sleeping on other people's couches and in the trunk of their car.

We went inside and they check your ticket before you even enter the 100 level of the park.  I spoke with one of the ladies who was in charge and she let me go in even though I had an upper deck ticket (500 level-aka the 'cheap seats' even though they were 21 bucks).  I took tons of pictures at the field level and after trying to get a ball for a little while, I traveled up towards the upper concourse, some guys whistled and tried to get my attention, but I kept on walking.  I really don't understand, like I told my friend-even if I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt guys still act like idiots.  There was a beautiful view of the city loop.

I went and sat down a little to the left of home plate.  No one bothered me so I never moved to my actual seats.  The people across the isle from me were from Salt Lake City and I got another 'proposal.'  I guess guys who like baseball are impressed when girls like baseball enough to travel from park to park by themselves just to watch the game.  The first 6 runs of the game were all home runs-it was crazy.  The Rockies had 4 HR and the Sox 2, but later on the Sox scored like a normal team and won 5-4.  There was an awesome firework show after the game since it was firework night (Friday) and then I got back on the red line only to discover that I couldn't transfer to the blue line during the 'weekend' (Friday night counts as the weekend) because they are doing construction.

There were loud boys yelling at one another and then at me when they saw my A's hat.  I ignored them for the most part and got off and walked 3/4 of a mile to get to the proper train.  I got back around 11:31PM and loaded all my pictures onto Jac to make collages, organize my papers/trash, and go to sleep.

I have to look into the news for details on flooding in Wisconsin.  I really want to see Ryan and stay on schedule.  The people I was talking to from Salt Lake City bought me nachos and it turns out they are planning on going to Milwaukee as well, so we'll see.  Maybe I will see them again.  God knows better than I do what is going to happen, so I will trust & follow Him.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, & Illinois

Monday, June 9: I don't know how people survive out here. I got up around 7:30AM and tried to sleep longer. I couldn't, so I dumped all my trip pictures onto Jac and organized them. Around 8:30 I ate breakfast, toast and cheese with some frozen blueberries and two bottles of H2O. I watched an episode of the office while working out for 30-40 minutes, took a shower, and went down to eat lunch. I thought about going outside to run, but it's really humid, hot, and icky outside. I ate lunch: a can of tuna and crackers with some cheese and water. I am really tired though, so I might take a nap and workout some more. At least I get rest on this trip, I tried to plan it so I would get enough sleep between drives. After dinner I drove out to Cleveland to stay with couch host #2 who was an ultra marathon runner and has run a 100 mile race. On the way there I was apprehensive as black clouds spanned the horizon in front of me, shocks of lightening blazing through. I hit the storm, slowed down and arrived in Cleveland around 11:30. My host was very nice and we discussed running a bit and I soon fell asleep.

Tuesday, June 10: I woke up at 7:30 even though my alarm was set for 10:30. I went to the suggested college and took lots of pictures and walked around. I came back and took a nap in Laz. I wasn't sure if my host had come back so I used the restroom on the first floor of his building before buzzing up on the intercom. Then we set off on an 8 mile running tour of Cleveland passing Lake Erie [the first time I've ever seen one of the Great Lakes], the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, downtown Cleveland, the Browns stadium, across a long bridge that lead to Progressive Stadium where the Indians played. I was sore, dehydrated, and my blister was hurting so we stopped for H2O in a pizza place and walked through another campus before running back to the lot. I showered and ate an apple and some vegan chocolate and cookies. They were pretty good. I set off for the field with my host's directions in mind and found free parking 3 blocks from the stadium. I bought the cheapest tickets available and went in. I stayed near the bottom taking tons of pictures of the field and players and soon it was time for the game to start so I sat in some seats that were open behind the mvp area on the first deck but I couldn't see the jumbotron so I moved to a perfect location with a great view where no one questioned my tickets once and I got pictures with one of the hot dogs and the mascot. It was great. Sabathia threw a complete game shut out and I set out for Detroit at 9:30PM.

I arrived in Michigan at 12:30PM or so and met my host. He was awesome. It was so fun to talk to him and since I'm an Office addict, I mentioned some of the wonderful references but he had never seen it! I introduced him to some of my favorite cold openings and he was hooked. We didn't go to bed until 2:30AM because we were watching The Office.

Wednesday, June 11: Again, I woke up at 7:30 with no alarm so I put together Cleveland collages. Soon Joe was down for breakfast and made us oatmeal with raisins and I added glorious brown sugar. It was grand. We sat and watched another episode of The Office and then left for our bike tour of Detroit. We started off down the street and went on the train tracks. I think he thought I was a wussy because I wasn't able to ride very well on the rocks, but I wanted to go into an abandoned factory, so we did. We went and explored the rusty old ruins of what was once America's booming up and coming urban city. It was heart wrenching to recall the hopes of the citizens being pulled out from beneath them as their once growing economy came to a grinding halt with large factories closing, causing lost jobs, poverty, and a great exodus from Detroit. We were in a back room of one of the warehouses when he saw two men and we rushed quietly and quickly back to our bikes and took off down the tracks. We crossed the highway and my chain and shoe popped off when riding off a curb. I put my shoe back on and fixed the chain. We continued on our journey.

We saw some old churches and a deserted school with a hole in the gym building window-two of them. For some reason we thought that we should go inside, so we did. The pool was disgusting, rubbish floating in it, brown grimy water shallow in the deep end. We heard banging so we quickly exited the building only to discover that the noise was coming from a man who was stealing the copper off the roof... so we went back in to climb the ladder. In the room above the pool there was an old gym. Imagine the children who played there. Where were they now?

We left, riding down the street toward the water-the Detroit River. It was beautiful. Housing is so cheap! We rolled toward downtown to eat lunch at Ephs. It was good, I liked the Herb Havarti and I 'sold it' to another girl ha ha. The fountain at the park was great, I liked the ones on top. Rolling down to midtown we stopped at a smoothie place and I taught him how to play chess. We were using my chapstick because the bishop wasn't on the board when we sat down. A man kindly interrupted us and picked up the chess piece that had been hiding behind the leg of the chair that I was sitting in. We had a complete set.

On our way home after chess we stopped by the church where he works. It was beautiful. The tiles on the ceiling of the dome were shining. It was amazing. When we got back I took a shower and we set off, he drove us over because our journey had taken so long. We got there just in time to see the start of the game and headed up to seats in the top so that we could see the skyline, later moving to nicer, padded seats to complete the game. It was a great game. I saw another home run and Verlander threw a complete game. Afterward we set off in search of ice cream. Happy Cream and Ben & Jerry's were closed so we looked into a coffee shop but they didn't have any. We stopped at CVS and got some Michigan Black Cherry ice cream. It was authentic and made in Detroit, creamy and delicious. Another episode of The Office followed and soon it was time for me to leave for Chicago. I drove for an hour and a half before I couldn't handle it. I pulled off the road into a Citgo gas station and slept for two hours.

Thursday, June 12: I woke up at 4:30AM and continued on the way to Chicago arriving at 7:30AM. I was so tired. I pulled into the garage and we talked a bit before I napped. I threw together some collages of Detroit and set off for the game. I walked down to the train station and saw some guys waiting for the bus and asked if I could follow them to the game... they said 'yes' and we went down to the game.

We separated at the stadium because they were in the bleachers and I was in the main section. It was hot but my seats were in the shade so I was fine for the first 2 hours of the game. I cheered for Tim Hudson and he was doing fine until the 9th when the Cubs homered off one of the relievers. It went to the bottom of the 11th two walks were given up, a hit, and then they won because the pitcher hit a player... terrible way to win. I went to walk around the stadium and happened to run into one of the guys whom I had come on the bus with to the game, we waited for his friend and headed back to the original bus station. I have to say, I was thinking Cubs fans were idiots. They kept standing up for every inning the Cubs were up to bat as if that was going to help. I could see that at the end of the game, but they started in the 6th and continued on through the 11th. I just wanted to sit in my seat and watch the game, but with everyone else standing around, you can't see! The woman sitting next to me was really nice and bought me a Maitai, I could feel it and it was pretty funny because I thought my sunscreen wasn't working at one point because my skin was red, but it turns out it was just the alcohol. SPF 55 is great. She was a White Sox fan and explained that Cubs fans just went to games to get drunk, were mostly from north Chicago-if someone moved to Chicago-they generally would become a Cubs fan and the White Sox fans were from south Chicago and actually cared about baseball rather than drinking. I would probably be a White Sox fan.

I walked the wrong way down the street toward the loop and took some pictures of the city along the way. Then I walked up the street back to the apartment and a man started interrogating me. I was weirded out and told him I had no idea what he was talking about and that I was just in Chicago to watch baseball and then I was out of here. He looked like he was full of himself anyway with his power suit. I went inside and we watched 'Secondhand Lions' which is actually a good movie and I had some miso soup for dinner. I made Chicago collages of the Cubs game. It's already almost midnight here in central standard time. Time to sleep! Big day of the White Sox ahead tomorrow. South Chicago here I come.

Monday, June 9, 2008

West Virginia & Pennsylvania

Friday-June 6: I woke up around 8:30AM and put all my stuff in Laz before heading out. I got as far as Harrisonburg to get gas (JMU is there) and remembered I forgot to grab my glove! Ugh. It's 2 hours away, so I decided to leave it in VA. :( So sad. The drive felt like an eternity; the twists, turns, and hills in West Virginia didn't help. I arrived at North Bend State Park around 5:15PM and checked in although it didn't officially start until 6. I was really hungry/wanted to carb load a little because I didn't know what to expect with such a small marathon so I sucked it up and paid the $10.55+tip to eat a plate of fettuccine alfredo. I ate really slowly and went out to the car where I got my Bible and went through Psalm 139 and wrote it on a piece of paper to memorize during the marathon [it was working until I was so delirious I couldn't remember anything or think anything but having to finish the race]. The race director convinced me to run the regular start rather than the early start I was going to because I could get a trophy if I placed overall. I wasn't super excited, but I figured I drove 6.5 hours to West Virginia for a marathon so I might as well try to place. I prepped Laz for sleeping, but it was still humid and disgusting when I lay down at 8 so I got out and walked around/stretched outside, watched the West Virginia sunset, went to the bathroom in the lodge again, and then went to bed at 9.

Saturday-June 7: I got up at 5, before my alarm went off. It was probably because I was still sweating, there isn't the best air ventilation in the back of an Integra. I changed, got out, ate a banana, an English muffin with a little butter because there was no cream cheese for the bagels and spoke with some of my fellow marathoners about the race we were about to run. Though there were only 57 people who finished, about 40 of them were people attempting to run 50 states [including myself] so that was fun. A 61 year old man completed his 200th marathon when he finished. We walked down to the starting line and I was preparing myself to start slow and pick up the pace as I went. The horn blasted and we were off, everyone started quickly, it was all I could do to not start racing in the beginning. I dropped the first mile in 10:31, faster than I wanted to start, especially since 9/10 of the first mile was uphill. I got into a pretty smooth rhythm and was running with a guy from southern West Virginia/northern Virginia from mile 5-14. We hit every mile on 10 minute mile pace like clock work. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't have enough energy for the end, especially when we passed a sign 2 hours into the race that displayed the 87 degree temperature and rising-the big hills were still to come [the whole thing was basically hills, but the big, big ones were at mile 15 and 24]. I drank powerade at every stop until mile 21 when I took both H2O and powerade, it was gross. It's a good thing there weren't many people in the race because I had to go to the bathroom a little after mile 21; I went on the side of the path behind some trees. I am really glad I brought the extra gel I ran nearly 32 miles with in Maryland and didn't use-that I got from the Richmond marathon, ha ha. I ate that around mile 14 and kept on truckin'. By mile 19 I was tired, and missed 10 mile pace by a minute. Every mile after that... I missed 10 mile pace by a minute more. By mile 24 I was done for, I was dehydrated, my muscles were depleted of their glycogen [no food/snacks at all on the course] and I still had 2.2 miles to go. I kept going. I got to the top of the hill and hit the 25 mile marker and I thought I was nearly done, but that last 1.2 miles seemed to go on forever. I finished in 4:31:33 which is my new marathon PR [one day I will run a non-hilly marathon when I'm not sick and qualify for Boston], I thought that was pretty decent for a marathon that's supposed to be one of the hardest, if not the hardest on the east coast. It turned out I was the 3rd woman to finish overall and I got a gaudy trophy, but hey, if you're going to run a marathon mostly by yourself, you might as well get a trophy right? It was definitely an all mental race because the field was small and the only people with words of encouragement along the way were other racer's spouses/family and the people at the H2O stops. I hobbled around a little and leaned on a tree so I wouldn't fall down, then I got into the shuttle back to the lodge where Laz was and took a shower in one of the rooms the race provided for runners to shower afterward. I was so grateful and happy to be clean. It turned out the lady who was parked next to me had slept in her car the night before as well, she was from PA and going on to SC after the marathon. It was nice to know I'm not the only person who does stuff like that... ha ha. I set out for PA and remembered I hadn't taken a WV jumping picture, so I did. It was the best I could do after a difficult marathon with a timer. I rolled toward PA and saw huge road kill... gianormous paws that resembled something like a mountain lion. I called Jeff, Melissa, Linds, and Leah to say howdy and that I finished my marathon/was on my way to Pittsburgh. I arrived at my first couchsurfer's place around 5 and ate a quesadilla. We watched Revolver-a Guy Richie film that was interesting, but confusing until I read the synopsis of the movie to figure out exactly what was going on. I met his girlfriend and soon went to bed around 9:30.

Sunday, June 9: I got up at 7:30 like the weirdo I am and then tried to fall asleep again. I debated going to the Pittsburgh SG church, but by the time I was officially up, I remembered I didn't have any nice clothes. I got ready for the game, slathering tons of SPF 50 sunscreen on [did that for the marathon too] and the guys' girlfriend dropped us off at the park and we went to the game. It was ridiculously hot in the sun so we moved to the shade and watched the rest of the game from near the top of the stadium. The Pirates won 6-4 over the D'backs and then I got a jumping picture by the bridge and we walked back. I was really tired and drank a ton of H2O when I got back to the house. Around 6, he drove me around to see downtown P-burgh and over looking the city. It was neat to hear about the history from a native of the city. I called Linds' dad and ended up going to their house to sleep for the night-we watched Game 2 of the NBA finals and they fed me tons of food for dinner: soup, pizza, blueberries, apple slices, etc. We all went to bed after the game, I was happy because the Celtics won [although the Lakers did nearly make a comeback and I was afraid at one point].

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

small things

I am always amazed at how minute details add up in my head.  I analyze too much, too often without effort.  It actually takes more effort not to analyze some things.  I need to fill my mind with truth and be wary of my thoughts.  Small unimportant things can affect my mood.  The A's won today and I felt much better after I learned this tid bit of information.  The human mind intrigues me, even my own.

I feel lazy, I haven't left the house much since I got back to Midlo.  This has to do with Lazarus being out of commission and the necessity of a car in Virginia.  I am going to call the auto mechanic tomorrow and if they can fix Lazarus by Thursday, I will have AAA bring him over.  It's 3.5 miles according to google maps, so it should only cost $3.00 to bring it, plus however much it will cost to fix Laz.  I am praying that it will be inexpensive.

All of these unexpected costs I continue to incur while in Virginia.  A police officer hitting Laz, my computer's hard drive failing, now Laz doesn't work again.  I probably shouldn't have ordered any pictures from the past year, but it's too late now.  They have already been printed and paid for.  I wanted to put them into an album and organize my Virginia memorabilia since I have time while I don't have a job.  I am also redecorating my room since God may want me to stay here longer than I originally anticipated.

- run for life

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Crashing waves, deep, crystal blue stretching past the horizon. That's what my heart longs for. The familiar crests of the water and squishy sand between my toes. Comfort found in knowledge that my Creator has made the oceans and heaves to reveal His glory. God has a plan. Finances are so burdensome, praying for a job and utmost frugality. Everything worldly about me, even my physical body longs for home and the crisp, cool fresh air. My human instincts are screaming to run west.

Something stronger than myself is pulling me back. Allergies rule my lungs and my throat. Sharp pain emits from my lung and heart region every time I laugh or breathe deeply.  The only way to describe the pain would be 'a knife stabbing through my left lung into my heart and every time I laugh or breathe deeply it feels as though someone is twisting it; or someone is constantly crushing my upper rib cage to inhibit me from breathing.'  It hurts to speak. It's painful to sing. My heart sinks. The lies that tell me I'm alone are louder than ever.  Reminded that the plethora of people who call themselves friends does nothing when you really need someone by your side.  I pray that I can continue to be a good friend to everyone regardless of how I am treated.  I know that You will never leave me nor forsake me.  I know that I am not truly alone because You are always with me.  Why do I feel this way?

Keep praying and keep trying.  Maybe one day I'll actually fit somewhere.  Maybe I'm supposed to go home.  Where is home?  Maybe I'm not supposed to fit in.  I've never been a part of this world... so why start now?  

Just keep running... one step at a time I will praise You all the days of my life.  Even when I don't understand what is going on around me.  When I don't feel well, I will praise You.  Feelings are fleeting, but my heart knows what is true deep inside.  I need to memorize more scripture to fight all of the lies Satan tells me so I can stab them and kill them with my sword...

-run for life